Despite their early World Cup exit, England still have the makings of a top team. Here are 11 players who will be key moving forwards…

1.Anthony Watson

Quite possibly England’s best player alongside Mike Brown during the World Cup, Watson represents one of England’s potentially world class players. With Mike Brown unlikely to still be around for the 2019 World Cup, Anthony Watson looks like the natural successor at full back.

2.Ben Youngs

Youngs showed his class in flashes during the World Cup and so should still very much be a part of the team at just 26. His experience will be vital to helping a relatively young side progress in the right way over the next few years and he could very well find himself taking over as captain.

3.Henry Slade

Despite not even making the bench during England’s first three World Cup games, Slade’s performances have indicated he has a very bright future for the national side. Now is the time to give him regular game time in the midfield to see if he can truly cut it at an international level.

4.Jamie George

Another youngster unlucky not to earn game time during England’s vital World Cup games, George looks like he could be the long-term answer to the sides clear issues at hooker. His performances for Saracens suggest that he has got what it takes to play international rugby.


5.Jonathan Joseph

The loss of Joseph for England’s crucial game against Wales was clearly a huge blow and severely blunted the midfield. There’s no doubting that Joseph has to remain a key part of the England squad no matter what given that he is just 24 years old.

6.George Ford

It still remains baffling that Ford was dropped for England’s two biggest games at the World Cup despite guiding England to a bonus point victory over Fiji. He may not be quite as solid as Farrell, but his ability to create something out of nothing should make him an automatic first choice.

7.Joe Launchbury

It was obvious that Launchbury went into the World Cup undercooked after spending most of the preceding 12 months on the sidelines. When he is fully firing though he is amongst the best locks in the world and therefore should be a key feature in the England pack for many years to come.

8.Courtney Lawes

Before injuries struck, Lawes and Launchbury looked to be developing one of the best second row partnerships in the world. They now need to be given the chance to reform this potent combination over the next few years where they can form the cornerstone of the pack.


9.Ben Morgan

Another player who came into the World Cup undercooked after an injury plagued season, Morgan unfortunately wasn’t close to his best. We have however seen what he is capable of when fully fit so he cannot be ignored as a result of a couple of poor performances on his return.

10.Maro Itoje

Itoje didn’t even make the final 31-man World Cup squad, but already looks like a future England star in the making. Whether he is competing for a place in the back row or second row, he needs to be playing regularly for England and allowed to develop into a potential future captain.

11.Jack Nowell

Yet another young player who was unfortunately overlooked during England’s key World Cup games. Nowell was one of the stars of England’s Six Nations and has the kind of versatility that could see him become a vital part of an exciting young backline.